A girl child ain’t safe in a family of men. But I never thought I’d have to fight in my own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead before I let him beat me.
Celie’s letter quotes Sofia’s stand on domestic abuse. After Celie admits to telling Harpo to beat Sofia, the two women talk honestly. Sofia encourages Celie to fight, a response that does not come naturally to Celie at all. Sofia appears more independent and confident than Celie, and this conversation reveals both a budding strength in Celie and the importance of female communication. By the end of the scene, both women laughingly agree that Celie should bash Mr. ____’s head open and worry about heaven later.
When I see Sofia I don’t know why she still alive. They crack her skull, they crack her ribs. They tear her nose loose on one side. They blind her in one eye. She swole from head to foot . . . She can’t talk. And she just about the color of an eggplant.
Celie recounts the abuse Sofia endures during her run-in with the mayor and his wife. In an encounter in town, the wife compliments Sofia’s children, asking if Sofia would consider working for her as a maid. When Sofia answers “Hell no,” the mayor slaps her and a fight ensues. The police are called, and Sofia is beaten nearly to death. Later, Celie and Shug visit her in jail and care for her wounds.
How you manage? Us ast. Every time they ast me to do something, Miss Celie, I act like you. I jump right up and do just what they say.
Sofia claims that Celie serves as the inspiration that allows her to survive in the prison environment. Although Sofia’s explanation testifies to Celie’s passive and quiet strength, the comment also shows that Sofia must work hard to overcome her instincts to fight back.
I’m busy making pants for Sofia now. One leg be purple, one leg be red. I dream Sofia wearing these pants, one day she was jumping over the moon.
The connection between Celie and Sofia runs deep in this novel. Sofia lived as an independent and strong woman long before Celie, but she paid a heavy price for possessing such an attitude. Her time in prison seems to break her spirit. However, Sofia is reborn at the dinner table when Celie announces that she is leaving, and some of Sofia’s old strength and passion returns. The colorful pants symbolize the women’s connection and Sofia’s new, almost magical rise to power.